Person who hosted Swiss Pastor infected with COVID19
Among the four new cases of COVID19 detected today in Sri Lanka is a person who associated with the Switzerland-based Christian Pastor who conducted a service at the Philadelphia Church in Ariyalai, near Nallur in the Jaffna District last week.
The Pastor has been confirmed as a COVID19 case by health authorities in Switzerland.
Director-General Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe said today that this person had not attended the service conducted by this pastor but had hosted him in his house.
He had been warded in the Anuradhapura Hospital and had been tested and confirmed as a coronavirus patient on Sunday the country’s top Health Official said.
The danger posed by the visiting Pastor has caused the authorities to extend the curfew in force in the country for a further 24 hours in the Districts of Jaffna, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Kilinochchi to limit any further spread of the novel coronavirus and trace those who attended the service at the Philadelphia church.
Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva who heads the Presidential Task Force on COVID19 said that between 150 and 180 congregants had attended services at this church. They had mostly been from Jaffna but smaller groups from Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu had been there.
The Army Chief appealed to those who had attended these services to report to the nearest police stations and identify themselves.
“They should also return to their homes and self-quarantine,” he added.
The authorities had been alerted to the situation surrounding the Philadelphia Church after the Pastor’s wife had called parishioners and asked them to pray for her husband as he had contracted the virus.
People who attended the service had noticed the Pastor was ill. However, officials in Jaffna said the preacher had “hugged and blessed” many who had attended the ceremonies.
Officials said that the Pastor had left Sri Lanka on the 16th being driven straight to the airport. He had been screened and detected when he landed in Switzerland they added.